Back in 2011, Google added the ability to keep up with live transit updates to Google Maps. After all, commuters in big cities that require cars to get around (like my own Atlanta), have traffic info for highways. Why not people who primarily use the subway to get around? One glaring omission from that service, though, was the New York City subway system. Today, that problem is rectified.

mtalines androiddcmetro

Starting today, seven lines of the MTA will show live arrival and departure times for stops along their routes. Additionally, public transit users in Salt Lake City can get the same information for buses and trams in their area. Also, the Metrorail in DC now shows service alerts when, for example, there's scheduled work being done on the tracks.

The information is available on Google Maps via the desktop and Android apps.

Source: Google

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://twitter.com/IamPeePay Tomáš Petrík

    I'll explain before people start asking why only seven lines and why not all of them:
    In order to have the data available, you have to have the trains connected to a system which tracks their position and calculates their real arrival and departure times.
    Given that the NYC Subway is old, there was no infrastructure for such a system until recently. Now they are starting to retrofit the trains and tunnels with this system. A few weeks ago they launched the service for the first seven lines - 1,2,3,4,5,6 and the 42nd Street S shuttle, so now mapping providers (such as Google) can use the data in their own applications.

    • Sorian

      Thanks for the info!

    • registeringwithdisqusisapain

      Great explanation. It's amazing how people things just work with magic, isn't it?

      • ins0mn1a

        i agree that this is a great explanation, and i certainly don't count on magic, but let's be honest: it's not exactly rocket science either. there have been panels at stations throughout developed world announcing the next train/bus/tram arriving in x minutes for many years now. the fact that such a thing is not yet fully implemented in the biggest city of the richest country in the world is a bit confusing. also, cellphone signal in subway stations & tunnels. this is a norm in many places, but not in nyc. i understand that it's a technical challenge, but the fact is many cities managed to overcome it, so coming back home to nyc after visiting one of those places feels like a trip back in time.

  • Sorian

    While this is a sign of progress, when will they finally add multiple destination routing!?!? It has been in suggestion since 2010.

  • Melissa Peterson

    Is there a difference between Real-time departures and Live departure times?
    I've been able to see the arrival times and how many minutes until arrival to that stop for a while now.

    • Melissa Peterson

      Where I live.

    • Gaelan Bolger

      live departure times are what appear on the boards below ground, and are based on train locations. until now the times for these trains were based on schedule data.

      • Melissa Peterson

        Okay, so live departure times are for trains. Then that would mean the Real-time departures are for buses. Which is what I see, because I live near the local bus system. Thank you for explaining that.

  • Gaelan Bolger

    Well this makes my NYC Metro app obsolete since now they have this info too. Oh well... it was a good learning experience.

  • registeringwithdisqusisapain

    Cool. Now do this for Metro-North, right on the maps and delivered to Google Now too.

  • tym0

    Melbourne why don't you release your tram data!

  • Stefan

    Google should just buy "Öffi" and let us European users enjoy the same. And integrate it with Google Now.